InnovateHer, a North West social enterprise whose mission is to get girls ready for the tech industry, and the industry ready for girls, has received a £50,000 grant as part of Innovate UK’s Future Flight Fund.
InnovateHer will use the funds to expand its outreach activities for teens ages 13-17 by designing a cybersecurity learning programme on its e-learning platform, with supporting initiatives to be delivered in schools across the UK.
The Future Flight Fund is a £300m initiative which aims to revolutionise the UK aviation industry by bringing together technologies in electrification, digital and autonomy that will create new modes of air travel and capability. As part of the programme, up to £500,000 will be invested into various projects that will help to close the current skills gap that exists in the aviation sector through the creation of course content and materials that will support talent, training, and skill sets.
A recent cyber report from the UK Government highlighted the need for a larger proportion of the population to have sufficient cybersecurity skills. Yet, despite one strategy from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which aims to encourage awareness of cybersecurity careers in young people aged five-19, InnovateHer found that only around two per cent of the population is being reached by such initiatives.
The six-eight week interactive cybersecurity course from InnovateHer is being created to inspire and intrigue young people to consider careers in the sector and will align with Future Flight’s emerging markets. Students will start their learning journey as cybersecurity ‘apprentices’ and will receive information from their virtual mentors throughout the course. They will learn about the many different roles that exist within cybersecurity and take on challenges designed to feel like they are solving real-life cyber problems.
The course will be delivered in schools across the UK with the support of InnovateHer’s partner BAE Systems. The security space solutions provider has agreed a four-year partnership with the social enterprise, worth £480,000 over four years. The funds provided will help to roll out the cyber security course and supporting activities to over 8,000 students across Lancashire.
InnovateHer works with its partners to ensure that programmes are always kept free, prioritising schools in underprivileged and harder-to-reach areas.
Chelsea Slater, co-founder of InnovateHer, said: “We are thrilled and honoured to have received the prestigious Future Flight Fund from Innovate UK, allowing us to introduce a transformative Cyber Pillar to our E-Learning platform. This support not only reaffirms our commitment to nurturing digital resilience, but also positions InnovateHer as a driving force in shaping the future of cybersecurity education.
“The substantial investment of £480,000 from BAE Systems empowers us to bring this visionary project to life, reaching even more young minds, empowering them with the essentials skills to thrive in our digital age.”